Thursday, February 01, 2007

Desire Taken By The Tail

[It's Food Week at AHIR: all food, all drink, all week, leading up to World Nutella Day on February 6! You do realize that "Food Week" is just a shameless gimmick to generate support and love for WND, no? That being the case, I now urge you to prepare your entry in exchange for my sacrifice of consuming so much food for this week's festival. Ok, I didn't consume it all this week, I confess. But remember, it's all up to your creativity and you don't have to have a blog to participate!]

Ah, so poetic. Nestled in the corner of a street called "Dove Alley" (Vicolo della Palomba). This little gem is a find that one of my closest Italian girlfriends, Eleonora, discovered. She is a freelance art director who formerly worked for Rome's most sought-after graphic design agency (last time I was at her house she was making Garofalo pasta and showed me how she had designed the package), and she is therefore one of the most creatively talented people I know. So leave it to her to pick "Il Desiderio Preso per la Coda" as one of her favorite restaurants. This time we went to celebrate her recent birthday.

This is a funky, trendy kind of place, tucked away in a good hiding spot not far from Piazza Navona. There aren't many tables, and the ones that are there are all kind of squished in together. The placemats are on brown paper bag material, hand-stamped with the restaurant's logo. The menu comes encased in a florescent, neon-colored plexiglass holder. It's what you would call "molto trendy."

The food is equally d'avantguardia. You'll probably have to ask multiple times what the heck the things on the menu actually are. For example, it will say something like "Utopia" with no explanation, so everyone at the table starts asking everyone else: "Do you know what the "Utopia" dish is? Is it fish? Is it meat?" Then the waiter comes and someone asks, and he explains. But other people were talking, so then they all ask him to explain it too. Pre-dining amusement and fun will certainly be had by all.

Once you actually get over the hurdle of ordering, you are in for a treat. Here was my first course, something I have fallen madly in love with since I moved to Italy and discovered it: zuppa alla zucca--pumpkin soup.

Did I mention that the plates are all very beautiful hand-painted ceramic, but all very mismatched? It's that whole artsy thing again. Molto trendy.

Now, granted, this pumpkin soup was not at the same level as that made by my resident chef, Alessandro. I have to admit that he does a pumpkin soup without using any recipe that is literally "il fine del mondo." But, until he opens his restaurant one day, this soup is an excellent stand-in and was absolutely delish. They even sprinkled toasted almonds on top which was an interesting and creative touch.

I also had a lovely salad, but what I REALLY want to show you are the desserts. People, this is another thing I have discovered in some Italian restaurants: what I personally like to call the "chocolate volcano." It's a decadent little chocolate cake fatta espressa, or made when you order it, and cowering inside is a whole lotta hot fudge that slowly makes its appearance when your fork hits the cake. Oh. This. Is. Good. Stuff.

The photo is kind of washed out because I had to use the flash, but ... I think it requires no additional verbal elaboration.

My friend sitting across from me, Cristina, got this:

Also photo-worthy, wouldn't you say? This is similar to the crema pasticciera we had in Pescasseroli. Lots of sweet, crispy millefoglie with custard cream inside. In a word? Yum.

I think we each spent about €25 or so per person, including two fantastic bottles of red wine, which is actually quite a good price for such an elegant and unique meal here in Rome.

Ok, so you won't be able to get a steaming plate of pasta alla carbonara or that crowd-pleasing Roman favorite of oxtail stew, but hey, that's not what Desiderio is all about. We're talking trendy, people, trendy...

Il Desiderio Preso Per La Coda
Vicolo della Palomba, 23
Tel. 06 68 30 75 22
Closed Mondays


Shirley said...

Yum that chocolate dessert is enough to tempt me! Always looking for new places to try and this looks great.

Tracie P. said...

i love that molten choc cake, there are quite a few restaurants in ischia that make it, but my fave is at il focolare. it makes my eyes water every time i eat it. really.

by the way, how did you swing that "italian female friend" thing? on a superficial level, it's quite easy, but i can't say that i have any really close ones. not like my texan gals, anyway. the only italian gfriend that i found and really had so much in common with, etc, stabbed me hard in the back. ouch...

Anonymous said...

I really like it, so very trendy indeed! (Even if my kind of restaurant is more like the Taverna de' Mercati.....)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

What is the second dessert? I can't turn away from these photos. It is almost as bad as when you had the photos of the hot priests.

Anonymous said...

you have hit the jackbox. You're marrying a lawyer, resident chef planning to open a restaurant in the future and not to mention becoming a notario.

Tanti auguri